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The two Governments are thus taking steps to ensure thai their assertions of jurisdiction will not prejudice the claims or interests of either party or adversely affect our ongoing negotiations. To this end, the Canadian order and the United States Federal Register notice each make clear that these assertions of jurisdiction are without prejudice to the negotiation of any maritime boundary between the two countries.
The two Governments recognize the need to continue serious and active negotiations toward a mutually acceptable boundary settlement mindful that the two Governments will need to consider third party procedures if the negotiations do not make progress. The two Governments are also continuing negotiations of mutually acceptable long term arrangements in respect of living and nonliving resources. In the meantime, they are also negotiating mutually acceptable interim fisheries arrangements. Both countries will also avoid steps for the time being relating to the development of nonliving resources in the boundary areas concerned which could prejudice negotiation of a boundary settlement.
The United States will continue negotiation of these offshore issues in confidence that the important national interest of each country in the cooperative development of our offshore resources will lead the United States and Canada to a mutually agreeable and beneficial resolution of these questions.
Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXV, No. 1953, Nov. 29, 1976, p. 667.
U.S.-Mexico Maritime Boundaries
The United States and Mexico, on November 24, 1976, exchanged notes on provisional maritime boundaries (entered into force November 24, 1976). The boundaries were intended to be utilized until certain technical work could be completed, and pending the coming into force of a maritime boundary treaty in accordance with the constitutional processes of both countries.
The provisional boundaries are in the Pacific Ocean, the Western Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. They extend to 200 nautical miles seaward from the baselines used to measure the breadth of the Territorial Sea. Their establishment was made necessary by the U.S. Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (90 Stat. 331; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) establishing a Fishery Conservation Zone off the coast of the United States, and the Mexican Decree adding to Article 27 of the Political Constitution of Mexico to establish an Exclusive Economic Zone of Mexico outside the Territorial Sea. The notes were exchanged simultaneously with signature of the U.S.-Mexico fishery agreement establishing principles and procedures for fishing by U.S. vessels within 200 miles of Mexico. See post, p. 360.
The Mexican note (in English translation), to which the U.S. note expressed agreement, stated, in part:
[O]ur two countries have not yet delimited their respective Continental Shelves beyond 12 nautical miles seaward from the respective coasts and the present arrangement with respect to maritime boundaries, based on the Treaty to resolve pending boundary differences and maintain the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers as the International Boundary, concluded in 1970 (TIAS 7313, 23 UST 371] only extends the maritime boundary 12 nautical miles.
Inasmuch as the Mexican Government has established, by means of the Decree of June 7, 1976, the outer limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Mexico, and taking into account the fact that those limits include three segments contiguous to the Fishery Conservation Zone of the United States of America, which will become effective on March 1, 1977, the Mexican authorities deem it desirable to establish at this time the maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico out to 200 nautical miles seaward counting from the baselines used to measure the breadth of the Territorial Sea.
Taking into account the fact that all the necessary technical work entailed in such definitive delimitation could not be completed before the entry into force of the Fishery Conservation Zone of the United States of America, I take the liberty of proposing that, pending final determination by treaty of the Maritime Boundaries between the two countries off both coasts, the following lines be provisionally recognized as such boundaries: In the Pacific Ocean: (a) A geodesic line from 32°35'22.11" north latitude,
a 117°27'49.42" west longitude, to 32°37'37.00" north latitude, 117°49'31.00" west longitude:
(b) A geodesic line from 32°37'37.00" north latitude. 117°49' 31.00" west longitude; to 31°07'58.00" north latitude, 118°36'18.00" west longitude;
(c) A geodesic line from 31°07'58.00" north latitude, 118° 36'18.00" west longitude; to 30°32'31.20” north latitude, 121°51'58.37" west longitude;
In the Western Gulf of Mexico:
(a) A geodesic line from 25°53'30.57" north latitude, 96°55'27.37" west longitude; to 26°00'31.00” north latitude, 96°49'29.00" west longitude;
(b) A geodesic line from 26°00'31.00” north latitude, 96°48'29.00" west longitude; to 26°00'30.00” north latitude, 95°39'26.00" west longitude.
(c) A geodesic line from 26°00'30.00” north latitude; 95°39'26.00" west longitude; to 25°59'48.28" north latitude, 93°26'42.19" west longitude.
In the Eastern Gulf of Mexico:
(a) A geodesic line from 25°42'13.05” north latitude; 91°05'24.89" west longitude; to 25°46'52.00” north latitude; 90°29'41.00" west longitude.
(b) A geodesic line from 25°46'52.00" north latitude; 90°29'41.00" west longitude; to 25°41'56.52" north latitude, 88°23'05.54" west longitude.
The above coordinates have been determined using baselines referred to the North American Datum of 1927.
It would be understood between the two Governments that on the north side of such lines Mexico would not, and on the south side of such lines the United States would not, for any purpose, claim or exercise sovereign rights or jurisdiction over the waters or seabed and subsoil. It would be further understood that such lines would not affect or prejudice in any manner the positions of either government with respect to the extent of internal waters, of the Territorial Sea, of the High Seas or of sovereign rights or jurisdiction for any other purpose.
In Treasure Salvors v. Abandoned Sailing Vessel, 408 F. Supp. 907 (1976), the finders of an unidentified, wrecked and abandoned vessel on the Continental Shelf outside the territorial waters of the United States brought action for possession and confirmation of title against all persons. The United States answered and counterclaimed, seeking title to the vessel under the Antiquities Act, 16 U.S.C. 432, 433, and the Abandoned Property Act, 40 U.S.C. 310.
The District Court for the Southern District of Florida, on February 3, 1976, granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs. It held that Congress had not exercised its sovereign prerogative to the extent necessary to justify a claim to an abandoned vessel located on the outer continental shelf.
The United States claimed title to the vessel, which was believed to have sunk about the year 1622, on the grounds that objects of antiquity recovered by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are taken in the name of the sovereign and are the property of the people of the country as a whole. The argument was based on the concept of sovereign prerogative, a common law notion derived from the right of the King of England to objects recovered from the sea by his subjects.
To this the Court replied:
The Antiquities Act applies to any object of antiquity “situate on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States." The Abandoned Property Act embraces property "within the jurisdiction of the United States.” This Court finds that the property of the wreck involved in this case is neither within the jurisdiction of the United States nor owned or controlled by our government.
The Court rejected the Government's assertion that 43 U.S.C. 1332 et seq. (the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act) brought the abandoned vessel within its jurisdiction and thus within the purview of the Antiquities Act and the Abandoned Property Act. It noted that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act "merely asserts jurisdiction over the minerals in and under the Continental Shelf." It added that the Government's jurisdictional assertion was further discounted by article 2 of the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf (TIAS 5578; 15 UST 471; entered into force for the United States June 10, 1964), which states that a coastal state exercises sovereign rights over the Continental Shelf "for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources." The Court stated that even if the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 had brought the abandoned property within U.S. jurisdiction, that Act would be superseded in respect of any incompatible terminology by the Convention. In this light, said the Court, "the United States has no basis for asserting its sovereign rights in sunken treasure (which, of course, is not a natural resource) found on the outer continental shelf.”
§ 4 Fisheries
Fisheries Jurisdiction The United States extended its fishery conservation jurisdiction to 200 miles off its coasts, effective March 1, 1977, by enactment of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-265; 90 Stat. 331; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), approved April 13, 1976. The purposes of the Act are stated in section 2(b) as follows:
(1) to take immediate action to conserve and manage the fishery resources found off the coasts of the United States, and the anadromous species and Continental Shelf fishery resources of the United States, by establishing (A) a fishery conservation zone within which the United States will assume exclusive fishery management authority over all fish, except highly migratory species, and (B) exclusive fishery management authority beyond such zone over such anadromous species and Continental Shelf fishery resources;
(2) to support and encourage the implementation and enforcement of international fishery agreements for the conservation and management of highly migratory species, and to encourage the negotiation and implementation of additional such agreements as necessary;
(3) to promote domestic commercial and recreational fishing under sound conservation and management principles;
(4) to provide for the preparation and implementation, in accordance with national standards, of fishery management plans which will achieve and maintain, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery;
(5) to establish Regional Fishery Management Councils to prepare, monitor, and revise such plans under circumstances (A) which will enable the States, the fishing industry, consumer and environmental organizations, and other interested persons to participate in, and advise on, the establishment and administration of such plans and (B) which take into account the social and economic needs of the States; and
(6) to encourage the development of fisheries which are currently underutilized or not utilized by United States fishermen, including bottom fish off Alaska.
A statement of congressional policy in section 2(c) specifies maintenance of existing U.S. territorial or other ocean jurisdiction for all other purposes without change; noninterference with recognized legitimate uses of the high seas, except as necessary for fishery conservation and management; permission for foreign fishing consistent with the Act; and support for continued active U.S. efforts to obtain an internationally acceptable treaty at the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea.
Title I of the Act reads as follows:
SEC. 101. FISHERY CONSERVATION ZONE
There is established a zone contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States to be known as the fishery conservation zone. The inner boundary of the fishery conservation zone is a line coterminous with the seaward boundary of each of the coastal States, and the outer boundary of such zone is a line drawn in such a manner that each point on it is 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the territorial sea is measured. SEC.102. EXCLUSIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY.
The United States shall exercise exclusive fishery management authority, in the manner provided for in this Act, over the following:
(1) All fish within the fishery conservation zone.
(2) All anadromous species throughout the migratory range of each such species beyond the fishery conservation zone; except that such management authority shall not extend to such species during the time they are found within any foreign nation's territorial sea or fishery conservation zone (or the equivalent), to the extent that such sea or zone is recognized by the United States.
(3) All Continental Shelf fishery resources beyond the fishery conservation zone. SEC.103. HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES.
The exclusive fishery management authority of the United